Residents of Ras Al Khaimah have welcomed the opening of the RAK 30-kilometre ring road, helping connect communities in the northernmost emirate with areas further south.
The three-lane motorway has long been considered critical to reducing much of the industrial traffic that clogs the city's downtown roads, often leading to lengthy traffic jams.
Now, lorry drivers, residents and businesses are hopeful the new road will not only reduce accidents but also lead to something of an economic boom for the area.
The bypass connects the E311 motorway from the southern desert suburbs with Saqr port, various quarries and cement factories, as well as a number of north-coast villages.
“It’s quite a relief to know that trucks will soon be out of the city roads," said Bashar Olabi, a 37-year-old Syrian engineer. "This will make our lives much easier and will definitely reduce traffic and accidents.”
The Dh90-million bypass is the second phase of a Dh410m project aimed at improving traffic links between the north coast of the emirates and the south.
The Ministry of Infrastructure Development announced the opening on social media last week saying they congratulated "the people of Ras Al Khaimah" and "thanked them for their patience during construction". The remaining works are expected to be completed in the last quarter of this year without affecting traffic any further.
Dr Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, described the ring road as "an extension of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road" and added it would also connect a number of housing projects currently under construction in the emirate.
The new bypass - which starts at Al Dhait and ends at Shimal, a village 30km south of Oman’s Musandam border - can accommodate some 60,000 vehicles per day in both directions and will have a speed limit of 140km/h.
Abdullah Al Bayed, an Emirati living in the Shimal area, praised the route's completion saying journey times would now be far faster.
“The new road minimises driving times and give us alternative solutions to avoiding traffic in the city,” he said.
RAK police said that around 15-speed radars had been installed along the new road along with animals’ barriers and road signs.
“Trucks will be prevented from driving through the city and instead be told to use the new ring road," said Major General Ali Abdullah bin Alwan Al Nuaimi, Commander-in-Chief of the RAK Police. "This should cut traffic congestion by a third and reduce accidents.”
Plans for ring road were first announced in 2008 but its construction suffered from numerous delays. Media reports have previously announced its completion date as being as far back as 2010.